How not to become bogged down when prototyping

In Creative Selection, Ken Kocienda takes his reader  inside Apple’s design process during “The Golden Age of Steve Jobs.” He explains how and why, in order to “understand what makes Apple what it is, its essence, you need to understand software.” You also need to understand the people at the company and the workplace culture they created under Steve Jobs’s leadership.

Here is what Kocienda learned about how not to become bogged down when prototyping a new or improved product: “Look for ways to make quick progress. Watch for project stalls that might indicate a lack of potential. Cut corners to skip unnecessary effort. Remove distractions to focus attention where it needs to be. Start approximating your end goal as soon as possible. Maximize the impact of your most difficult effort. Combine inspiration, decisiveness, and craft to make demos.”

Keep in mind that a prototype need not be (in Steve Jobs’s words) “insanely great.” But it must indicate that it can lead the way to something that will be.

Here’s the most difficult reality to accept: Prototypes speak for themselves…for better or worse.” It either does what it is supposed to or it doesn’t. If your best-effort prototype is DOA, bury it.

Make certain those who check out a prototype understand why you need their feedback. Candor is imperative.

Creative Selection was published by St. Martin’s Press (September 2018). To learn more about Ken Kocienda, please click here.

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